THE World Bank has approved the US$7.5 million Guyana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project geared at tackling the current pandemic and strengthening the country’s health system.
“The World Bank is working with member countries in the Caribbean to help them respond to COVID-19 and prepare for a resilient recovery. This financing for Guyana will help the country tackle the current crisis and handle future emergencies,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
She added: “The project will strengthen care for COVID-19 patients, improve the country’s ability to identify positive cases, and enhance the health system’s capacity to deliver critical care to vulnerable populations, including the elderly and people with chronic conditions.”
The bank, in a release, said the Guyana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project will strengthen laboratory capacity, support screening and surveillance, improve contact tracing, and equip healthcare facilities for more effective treatment and care of COVID-19 patients.
The project will also include activities specifically targeted to reach local communities across the country and in the hinterland regions through expansion of contact tracing and psychosocial support to vulnerable households.
The release pointed out that risk communication materials will be translated into local languages to ensure that vulnerable groups have access to reliable information about the virus and its spread.
“Finally, the project will also contribute to preparing the health system for the effective deployment of a safe and approved COVID-19 vaccine,” the release noted.
It also noted that Guyana receives interest-free financing from the International Development Association (IDA), with a maturity of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years.
In late July 2020, Guyana also benefitted from a US$1 million grant through the World Bank-administered Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), which was disbursed to PAHO/WHO.